Sunday, 12 May 19.

Last night one news was full of offense. Someone had put a Chick comic about Muslims in letterboxes in Mt Roskill. Chick comics have been around for ever, and are quite abrasive. They onfront those who think there is any way to salvation but Christ. Muslims included. The implication was that this is objectionable, and could be banned by our censor. The police are trying to find who distributed them.

It looks like we have blasphemy laws again. These have always been used to enforce the spirit of the age. Christ dealt with such. The reason he was arrested, tried, and executed was blasphemy: Pilate acceded to stop an engineered riot.

22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

John 10:22-30.ESV

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7:9-17, ESV

There are two parts to this: the first is that every tribe and nation and people and language will have people saved from it. None is special: none is unworthy of the saving grace of God. All deserve to hear the gospel, and for all pagan groups, Muslims included, the woke included, it will be confronting and hurtful. But the only way to seek reconciliation with God is through Christ. If there was an alternative, the one wise enough to make creation would have found it.

The second is that those of us who endure the harrowing of the church, from the enemies of the gospel, will have all the pain and hurt and turmoil removed from us. All our tears are recalled, and they will go. For we will be not concentrating on our shame, but instead on God, who we will understand and behold more fully and thus worship more fervently.

We can and should pray that we do not face these times. That we are not led to the temptation of apostasy. But times of persecution have been, in some places are, and in others will be. So we need to pray that God will preserve us, so that we do not fall into apostasy.

And that this life will be our only time of tears.